Sahlab: The Most Miraculous Milk Pudding From Middle East
Image Credit: Image credit: Shutterstock| Sahlab

On chilly, rainy, or snowy days, we need a resort like a sip of hot beverages to remain warm. Traditional options include coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. But have you tried making your own "Sahlab" drink? This Middle Eastern winter-hot-silky-drink is a simple choice that is enjoyed by both children and adults! Sahlab, salep, or sohlob is a popular winter drink in Egypt. This drink has a distinct aroma due to the orchid flour used in its preparation.

The flavours of the Middle East are intriguing. Pistachios, rose water, orange flower, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and a variety of other ingredients are frequently used in desserts. All of these components have different tastes, and the pistachios, with their vivid green hue, may always aid in identifying a Middle Eastern dessert.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Just a sip of Sahlap is enough to make you  grasp that in race of trying new exotic food you are missing out on some very succulent beverages around the world. Sahlab is one such delightful Middle Eastern winter drink, milky and creamy with a hint of exotic flavours, whose every sip is more fulfilling than the previous one. Sahlab is one of the most popular Middle Eastern drinks. It is such a comforting drink that works well for a winter dessert or an afternoon drink, it is healthy and not too sweet. 

Orchid flour is typically used to make sahlab. The tubers of the wild orchid genus orchids are ground to produce orchid flour (Orchis mascula). However, this orchid flour is now scarce and costly. Due to Turkey's excessive exploitation of wild orchids, it is even prohibited for export. Therefore, in this recipe we will replace the orchid flour with cornstarch for thickening our drink.

In the Ottoman Empire, sahlab was a popular beverage. It was known as a "fattener" for young ladies, used to make them plumper before marriage. Before the emergence of coffee and tea, it was consumed in England and Germany, and it was later given as an alternative beverage at coffee establishments. The drink was known as saloop in England.

Ingredients :

  • 4 cups Milk of choice whole milk tastes best but almond milk works great too for a vegan substitute
  • 4 tbsp Corn starch
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of cinnamon optional


  • Sprinkle of Spice Ground cinnamon
  • Crushed Pistachios or Walnuts
  • Coconut Flakes


  • In a pot, add the milk, sugar, and corn starch. Mix together very well until there are no lumps.
  • Place the pot over medium high heat and add the vanilla. Stir this mixture consistently until it starts to boil. This may take up to 15-20 min. Then, stir 2-3 minutes after boiling. It is important not to leave the stovetop or milk can burn easily.
  • Then, ladle the mixture which should be lightly thickened and creamy into the desired glasses. Top off with garnishes and enjoy warm.
  • You can place this in the fridge as well to enjoy cool. It will thicken more and be custard-like!